BLOG #7 / Option #1
While growing up, I always viewed hackers and cyberpunks how someone who grew up in the mid eighties and early nineties would. To me, hackers were young kids who used their computers to break into email, apply cool effects to your font, and boot users who pissed you off on AOL. After completing these readings, I have learned that my pre disposition about hackers and cyberpunks was extremely off. The original hacker was actually much more than some kid behind a computer. They helped forge the human race into a digital world that had not existed before.
Hackers are more than just people who use computers. Hackers can pretty much be accredited with creating what we know today as the digital world. These readings highlighted the idea that hackers and cyberpunks immersed themselves in a new and upcoming reality coined as “cyber space” and truly molded it to suit them and push the limits of what people thought were possible. Hackers and cyberpunks are not just a group of people, but rather an entire lifestyle that fully engulfs those who program. This lifestyle was taken up by programing pioneers who found themselves staying up for days on end creating digital utilities from scratch.
In the history of hackers and cyberpunks, they have gone from creating and manipulating machines, to doing the same with vast systems on the Internet or network. These users are able to apply their knowledge of programing to make the systems or computers work for them, rather than having to work to use the interfaces.
Many people simply use their computer to look up information on networks and do other day-to-day computer tasks, whereas a hacker’s use is something of a different breed. Hackers dive into the digital reality and mold the systems and machinery to do their bidding. Just as a CEO of a corporation has many employees underneath them to do their bidding, hackers get computers and their programs to work as their digital “minions” so to say.
I believe that cyberpunks and hackers do indeed belong to their own significant counterculture. Just as a normal culture functions in society, based on values and ethics that are learned from previous generations, one can see the same reflection in the computer based digital movement.
This computer savvy community has adopted a way of life that has guidelines that reach almost all aspects of their actions. Ideas that forge this culture, in my opinion, lie with the notion that art can be created on a computer. To us, that seems all too apparent, but as we learned from the readings, this was not a common thought until the “Hackers founding fathers.” Hackers even have a specific appeal to them that goes against the way modern business society works. Hackers hire other hackers based on how well they do their work, rather than based on their age, education, or professional demeanor. This idea shows how far away from traditional business culture the computer hacking lifestyle resides. Most importantly, the hacker ethics centralized around the idea that “all information should be free,” this is a credo that many in our current society believe to be important and it just so happens to shape theirs.
The bonds of their subculture can be seen in the way the hacker lifestyle got started. The idea that every programmer could work together to create an ultimate program collectivity is what helped to spark the hacking bushfire. If this does not qualify as a culture, I don’t know what does. Working collectively was the foundation of the hacker culture, which many say is threatened by the commercialization of programing. As a subculture unit, many have banned together to boycott money making from their efforts although many have been swayed to the “dark side” or so to say. Hacker icons, like Bill Gates, and modern plenums, like Mark Zuckerberg, have been accused of turning their back on the ethics that formed the hacker community.
One intriguing idea the authors left us with is the possible future of the hacking culture and their ideas. I’ve never thought of comparing computer code to human DNA code, but from the standpoint of hackers, they are not very different. When asked, Bill Gates claimed this to be the future of hacking, and his company has already take part in activities to prevent dieses by using the code to cure.